Arranmore RNLI’s volunteer crew, family and friends gathered together in the lifeboat station for a barbecue yesterday (Sunday 18 August) to say farewell to crew member Fr Liam Boyle.
Fr Liam was invited to join the crew in 2016 after getting a tour of the lifeboat and finding out about the essential work the lifeboat does in saving lives at sea.
Fr Liam said: ‘My motivation for joining this important service was prompted by being involved in all aspects of the community and the essential service provided by the lifeboat not just to the Arranmore community but the wider community of all those who use the sea for work and pleasure. My father used to fish and I remember him telling me about life as a fisherman, the dangers involved and the role the various lifeboats played in rescues.
‘My reasons for joining the priesthood are constantly changing to adapt to modern needs and so were my reasons to join the crew of the lifeboat. The service is still about saving lives but now crews are highly trained in all aspects of lifesaving. This training involves an apprenticeship of two years before becoming a fully fledged member and provides each crew member with the skills to work as a team. At the start of my training I quickly became aware of the camaraderie within the RNLI and how each crew member supported their fellow crew members. It’s not just the thrill and adrenaline rush of being part of the crew in an emergency call out, it’s the inspiration you get from being part of a crew who are ready to drop everything when the pagers go off. It’s a huge departure from cushioned pulpits to standing on the bow of a lifeboat traveling at top speed in all kinds of weather to a call for help which could last for hours.
‘After being ordained, my single most privilege is being involved with Arranmore RNLI and the crew and I thank them for their support and making me part of this really great service. My new role as chaplain to the LYIT will also be a challenge as you’re dealing with a different demographic and I am looking forward to the next chapter of my ministry.’
Arranmore RNLI Coxswain Jimmy Early paid tribute to Fr Liam for his role as crew member on the lifeboat over the last three years: ‘On behalf of all the crew, fundraising committee and extended lifeboat family, I want to thank Fr Liam for his support and great effort in responding to the call whenever the lifeboat was called out. He really integrated very well and was a valuable part of the lifeboat team, he will be missed. It takes a lot of commitment, time and effort, not only to volunteer and be on call 24/7 but to be available for training and all the other duties involved in the rescue services. We always welcome new crew members, male and female and will continue to give them all the support we can. At present we have a crew list of 22 members which is fairly unique for a small, rural community and pay tribute to the extended lifeboat family for their support for this vital service which has been on Arranmore since 1883.’